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Niall O'Connor/The Journal
elected

All five seats filled in Ireland South as final count results announced

Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly, Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher and Cynthia Ní Murchú, Independent Michael McNamara and Sinn Féin’s Kathleen Funchion have been elected.

LAST UPDATE | 13 Jun

ALL FIVE MEP seats have been filled in Ireland South after 19 counts at the Nemo Rangers GAA Club in Co Cork.

The following candidates have been elected:

Seán Kelly – Fine Gael

Billy Kelleher – Fianna Fáil

Michael McNamara – Independent

Cynthia Ní Murchú – Fianna Fáil

Kathleen Funchion – Sinn Féin

Independents4Change’s Mick Wallace tonight became the fifth MEP not to be re-elected to the European Parliament after he did not receive enough transfers and was eliminated.

As no remaining candidate had reached the quota, and Wallace was eliminated, the remaining three candidate were elected.

It was a dramatic end to the five day count in Ireland South. 

The first to talk was Cynthia Ní Murchú, who finished fourth in the five seater, was the first to talk to the media on her election. The Fianna Fáil candidate will celebrate her 58th birthday tomorrow. 

“I am truly honoured, I am humbled by the voters of Ireland South who put their confidence in me. I won’t let them down. 

“I am really looking forward to serving the voters of Ireland South and I a going to relish this opportunity,” she said. 

Tánaiste and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin paid tribute to the energy of the candidates. 

“It is about hard work and Cynthia really energised the party and people on the ground. I was in shopping centres with her and she left no voters behind and they didn’t have a choice in the matter. 

“That was the kind of commitment that mattered – we felt it, I was in Waterford towards the latter end of the campaign and I felt it coming in,” he said.

Kathleen Funchion of Sinn Féin also succeeded in her campaign and spoke of her joy at her election.

“I am delighted, I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who came out and voted for us. 

“I am very proud to represent Ireland South and with my colleague Lynn Boylan [in Dublin]. We are going to work well together hard for all the people of Ireland. It is really important to have strong voices at European level and very much look forward to that,” she said. 

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she is “full of joy” for Funchion and will be an “incredible advocate” for Ireland. 

“This is a real huge achievement, for Kathleen and her running mate Paul Gavan and for the team here and for every single person who voted for her and David Cullinane as well. 

“We now have two MEPs returning for Sinn Féin and that’s a great achievement and an improvement on the position. Of course we have 102 councillors elected – it is not the runaway success that perhaps some might have expected but it represents progress,” she said.  

Michael McNamara an Independent and a current TD said that he was feeling tired and was looking forward to spending time with his young family before making his way to Europe. 

“I am just tired, but I am emotional too. It is a tough campaign, it is a huge constituency, including Cork the biggest county and most populace.

“It is great to win, I have been on the other side of elections in the past and sometimes the lines are thin.

“I have lots of memories of travelling across the constituency – I was struck by the history. I was going to Carlow one night and my son didn’t want me to leave and I told him and he started crying.

“I played him the Planxty song Follow me up to Carlow so he told his Grandfather that his daddy is gone to Carlow. I woke up one morning on the Knockmealdown Mountains near where Liam Lynch breathed his last.

“You just realise the history, the sacrifice that was made and how fragile democracy can be sometimes – the last few decades have been unprecedented stability and peace and it can’t be taken for granted,” he said.

The last three seats were fought out by four candidates – Mick Wallace lost out. The well known politician said that it was “too early” to discuss standing for the Dáil.

He told The Journal: “I am very grateful to the people of Ireland South who gave me the opportunity. I am unsuccessful this time but I am so grateful this time to all the people who voted for me.”

When asked will he stand again he added: “That is a big question, we all need time to think about these things so this isn’t the night to be thinking of that.”  

Billy Kelleher

Earlier, Kelleher managed to surpass the 114,761-vote quota after Fine Gael’s John Mullins was eliminated, with over 12,000 of his votes going to the Fianna Fáil incumbent. 

Kelleher was the second incumbent MEP to be returned to the European Parliament from the constituency, after Fine Gael’s Seán Kelly was re-elected after the first count on Monday.

On his election Kelleher, surrounded by his family and his Fianna Fáil colleagues, including Tánaiste Micheál Martin, said it was a “huge honour” to be elected.

“It is my second term representing the people of Ireland South and I am deeply humbled and honoured,” he said. 

Kelleher said he was now hopeful that his running mate, Ní Murchú, will be elected later tonight. 

“That would be a huge achievement for the party. It would show that Ireland is pro-European, that Europe matters and with strong voices and it will show what Fianna Fáil stands for and we want to take that to Europe.

“It is emotional, to be adjudicated by your peers, and found to be in good stead by them is a huge honour and it is a crowning achievement to be vindicated as their representative,” he added.

This evening, sitting Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan lost her seat on the sixth count after failing to pick up enough transfers from Kelleher to overtake Mick Wallace.

In a statement afterwards, O’Sullivan said she was proud of her work as an MEP and grateful to have represented the constituency.

“While losing my seat is disappointing on a personal level, it is just the latest chapter in a long story,” she added.

“For over 40 years I have been standing up for what I believe in, and fighting for what is right.”

Keep up to date with the latest results on The Journal’s count centre, here.

Contains reporting from Stephen McDermott.

This work is co-funded by Journal Media and a grant programme from the European Parliament. Any opinions or conclusions expressed in this work are the author’s own. The European Parliament has no involvement in nor responsibility for the editorial content published by the project. For more information, see here.

 

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Muiris O'Cearbhaill & Niall O'Connor
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